Does magnesium help prevent migraines?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that we get from food, but most people usually don’t get enough of it through their diet. This important mineral is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It plays important roles in energy production, muscle contraction, neurological function, and much more.

Nearly 1 out of 10 people suffer with migraines and many seek alternative ways to help prevent them. Studies have shown that up to 50% of migraine sufferers have low magnesium levels and that taking a magnesium supplement could be an effective way to prevent headaches for some individuals. They found that daily magnesium supplementation can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

The American Migraine Foundation suggest taking 400-500mg of magnesium oxide daily to prevent migraines. Although magnesium oxide is a commonly used form of magnesium for migraine prevention, it can cause diarrhea in many people. Diarrhea can often be avoided by taking several, smaller doses throughout the day. Another option might be to take magnesium glycinate or bis-glycinate as these are easier to absorb and better tolerated by your bowels.

It’s important to remember that magnesium is just one thing that can possibly help migraines. Typically, migraines have more than just one cause, so it’s unlikely that one supplement will eliminate your migraines and the other symptoms that accompany them.

The good news is that at VIIM we have many strategies to help reduce your migraines in addition to magnesium intake. Contact us for a free consultation to find out more and have your questions answered.

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Is Acupuncture effective for improving Fibromyalgia symptoms?

Fibromyalgia is a condition involving widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, mood disorders and sleep disturbance without any known cause. In western medicine, symptoms are usually treated individually. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at the root cause of problems and focus on bringing the body back into balance.


In TCM, we understand that pain is a symptom. Pain tells us that qi (vital energy) is not moving smoothly in the body, especially if the pain is in multiple areas. Acupuncture helps regulate the free flow of qi throughout the body and relieves the blockages that may be causing pain, fatigue and sleep issues. Acupuncture may also help relieve pain in patients with fibromyalgia by affecting neurotransmitter levels, increasing endorphins, changing the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord and reducing inflammation.


Fibromyalgia can cause significant chronic pain that can seriously reduce one’s quality of life. Research has shown however, that acupuncture reduces both long-term and short-term pain. If you’re living with fibromyalgia, it can be stressful, but you don’t have to go through it alone. At VIIM in Victoria, BC, we offer several helpful options for fibromyalgia sufferers, including acupuncture. Contact us for a free 20-minute consultation to find out more.

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Can Acupuncture help my Migraines?

In my practice I hear this question a lot, “Can acupuncture help my migraines?” I always explain to patients that all of us are different and that results vary with everyone.

In my experience however, the answer is yes!

Not only is this answer supported by various clinical studies identifying acupuncture as an effective therapy for migraines, but clinically I have seen my own patients find significant and lasting migraine relief from the use of Acupuncture.

I also personally know all to well the debilitating effects that migraines can have on your life. I used to suffer from migraines, and I have watched many family members suffer as well. Acupuncture helped me and it can help you too.

Most migraines can be greatly improved in frequency and intensity with acupuncture and natural medicine. Below I’m going to share a handful of simple approaches that can make a huge difference. Here they are:

Of course, number one on the list is Acupuncture. Most migraine cases can be improved with acupuncture alone.

Other ways to help with migraines:

  • Clean up your diet – cutting down or out sugar, processed foods and chemical filled foods. At the same time eat a healthier diet which is focused on whole foods and is plant based as much as possible.
  • Try Magnesium. Several studies show that many migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium. Add more magnesium rich foods to your diet like pumpkin seeds, cashews, quinoa, black beans, spinach and other dark leafy greens.
  • Get regular exercise. 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is ideal. But just start somewhere. Even a short walk around the block is still beneficial.
  • Stay well hydrated. Try and keep a large water bottle or mason jar with you and sip on it all day.
  • Reduce your stress. Try meditation, prayer or writing in a journal.
  • Get adequate sleep. Aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours per night.

It often takes a little shift in your life, but if you do incorporate all of these suggestions and do them consistently you should find improvements over time.

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Insomnia? Sleeping problems?

Some tips to help you sleep.

By Mark Bodnar – Acupuncturist

As a parent with young children it feels like I talk about sleep a great deal. I also encounter patients with sleep issues frequently in my practice. Not getting a good night’s rest makes everything in life more difficult. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is a very common complaint. One possible way to improve your sleep is to start getting some Acupuncture.

That’s right, I said acupuncture. It’s great for improving your sleep. Acupuncture relaxes the nervous system, helps balance the stress response that are regulated by your adrenals and also helps the body regulate its internal rhythms. Over the years, I’ve worked with many people who have sleep disorders spanning a wide range.

Here are a couple tips that may help with your sleep:

  1. Develop a routine and stick to it: Waking, eating, exercising and sleeping at the same time everyday can help the body get into a rhythm. In time, this routine will help your body recognize when it’s time to sleep.
  2. Skip the nap: Even if you’re a bit tired, leave out the nap. Napping will throw off your internal rhythms, you’ll end up going to sleep even later at night and throw everything off even further.
  3. Kick the stimulants: Caffeine in any form stimulates the body and specifically the nervous system. It sends it into overdrive and it’s hard to come down off the rush. Alcohol and sugar have also been shown to have negative effects on sleep.

With some effort toward finding time to help yourself, which can be difficult, and regular acupuncture, your body can gradually find a restful balance.

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Suffering from Stress? Acupuncture can help!

By Mark Bodnar

Stress is something that more and more of my patients are experiencing daily and finding that it is interfering with their health and happiness. If you ask any health care professional they will agree that chronic stress is just no good for your body. Recently there have been several medical studies showing a relationship between high stress levels and decreased health. They’ve shown stress can lead to decreased immune system function, stiff muscles (commonly the back and neck), poor sleep and digestive disturbances to name a few.

The good news is that acupuncture can help. From a Chinese medicine understanding, stress affects the flow of qi and eventually blood flow within the body causing something called a stagnation of qi. Acupuncture helps to move qi and blood and relieve stress. It also releases endorphins within the brain and has a deep relaxing effect on the body. A medical study done at the University of California found that acupuncture decreases the sympathetic nerve activity producing a calming effect during periods of stress, lowering blood pressure and muscle tension.

In addition to acupuncture there are some things you can do to help yourself.

  1. Relaxing your mind: Try to focus your mind on other things. This gives the body a break from dealing with the stress response. Make a habit to take a couple a minutes to clear your mind from everything and focus on the positives in your life.
  2. Make time for yourself: Pampering yourself or taking part in activities that you really enjoy will increase your happiness.
  3. Exercise: It’s a great tool to help with stress. So go for a walk or hop on your bike. Just 10 minutes a day will make difference over some time.

Acupuncture can provide a safe and effective tool for handling stress. Typically as the heavy feelings of stress are relieved, you start to feel more confident in your ability to cope and make some necessary changes.

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